Officials have not yet decided whether to pursue criminal charges in connection with the late-afternoon shooting death Tuesday of a hunter near Bayview, according to a statement issued by Kootenai County sheriff’s Capt. Ben Wolfinger.
It was the second hunter death in as many days in North Idaho. On Monday, a St. Maries hunter was found dead. Officials believe the hunter slipped and accidentally shot himself in the chest.
Sheriff’s Department investigators finished analyzing the scene of the shooting near Bayview on Wednesday. So far, the investigators have determined the shooter and the victim were about 70 feet apart in thick brush when the fatal shot was fired.
The shooting took place at about 6 p.m. near the Careywood Cutoff Road. David Howard, 22, of Bayview, died minutes later. He had been shot once in the side of the chest with a .300 Winchester Magnum rifle, according to Wolfinger. A third member of the hunting party was a short distance behind the victim and was able to help investigators piece the scene together.
Tuesday’s sunset was at 5:44 p.m. Hunting is permitted until a half-hour past sunset.
The name of the shooter will not be released until a charging decision is made or the case is closed, Wolfinger said.
Neither the victim nor the shooter were wearing hunter orange, Wolfinger said. Howard was wearing blue jeans and a gray sweatshirt.
Idaho is one of a handful of states where hunters are not required to wear brightly colored orange clothing. The state does require hunter orange, however, in nine wildlife management areas where pheasants are stocked.
The state Fish and Game Department – with support of some North Idaho law enforcement officers – has made repeated efforts to institute a hunter orange law but has been rebuffed by Idaho lawmakers, said Niels Nokkentved, spokesman for the department.